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If you'd have to choose any politician outside your country

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 06:26 pm
... who would you want to be your president?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,602 • Replies: 60
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 07:46 pm
A TRUE LEADER FIRST ...
Nelson Mandela, hands down. A true leader first, a politician second. A "real" human being - not a phony. He came out of 27 years in prison without bitterness or rancor. Then, rose to be the President of his country, South Africa. Where can we find another? For the United States?

nimh - Who is your choice for your homeland?
[/color]
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 07:48 pm
hmmmm.....
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 08:19 pm
Re: A TRUE LEADER FIRST ...
Charli wrote:
nimh - Who is your choice for your homeland?[/color]


Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister.

He's made quite a few transitions in his political life, but he must be steering to a compass quite like mine, because they were almost all transitions that I would have made, too.

He's a Green, leader of a party the program of which I would almost fully subscribe to; but he's never been afraid to dissent with his own party's line, either, often marching far out in front of his "troops", taking positions - supporting the intervention to save the Kosovars for example - that the traditionalists in his party hated him for.

In fact, it was in slamming the "fundi's" in the Green Party that he was - from what I've read of his articles - at his most sharp-witted, and it's never wrong to have someone as president who can be funny, too.

When the **** hit the fan though, now with the Iraq crisis, he turned out to have no fear about presenting the same independence of mind towards the powers that be far to his right, either. The way he stood up to Rumsfeld, or Powell, and said: "We are of the generation that needs to be convinced. I am not convinced." - summed it all up - all our frustration, all our insistence that we deserve a convincing case before agreeing to a war, that mere intimidation and exercise of authority just wont do anymore - and I admire him for it.

Plus he's a winner. It was thanks to the extra votes he pulled in for the Greens that the Red-Green government stayed in power in Germany. And within that Red-Green coalition, his Greens represent the left wing in postmaterialist issues - rights of migrants, rights of gays/lesbians, women's emancipation - while at the same time representing the reformist, open-minded wing when it comes to modernising the economy. That's what we need.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2003 08:34 pm
Lech Walesa.
Circa 1980's.
Don't know if power has changed him.
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 10:12 am
Walensa and Mandela are two solid choices.

But I may have to go with a 'newbie'--Lula, the new President of Brazil!
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 10:58 am
NeoGuin wrote:
Walensa and Mandela are two solid choices.


walesa may have been a great leader of resistance, but he didnt turn out to be much of a leader in government, after freedom came. his presidency is usually considered a failure, mostly for his inability to build lasting alliances - ended up fighting with everybody, the rough way, and isolating himself in ever more megalomanic claims.

some politicians thrive when they have enemies - it might not necessarily be the safest choice to elect them into power. they'll tend to always conjure up new enemies, which is bad for peace ... you can take yeltsin as another example. but americans, too, might know what i mean ;-)

not that i'm out to tear anyone's suggestion down, by the way! not at all. every opinion is definitely appreciated. and sofia already added "circa 1980s", anyway ...

i like lula, as a choice - who'd have expected this question to yield two workers' leaders and three leftists among the first four suggestions? <grins>. lets hope the hard lessons of having been defeated twice have given lula the experience and tactical sensitivity walesa tragically lacked. (and i do mean the tragic part; i think walesa is a tragic figure, not a pathetic one).
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 01:46 pm
NeoGuin wrote:
Walensa and Mandela are two solid choices.

But I may have to go with a 'newbie'--Lula, the new President of Brazil!


I left Brazil because of Lula. He is by far the stupidest and most impractical politician I have ever heard of. He has advocated many policies that are in direct contradiction to both Brazilian law and their constitution.

He only won this last time (after repeated failures) because he curbed his insane rhetoric.

This is a man who has absolutely no experience in politics (except losing elections).

When I saw the title of this thread I can to add the name of his predecessor. Fernando Enrique Cardoso whose progress Lula is undoing.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 03:41 pm
I don't know all that much about Brazil. From what I read I gathered that the chasm between the select rich and the masses of poor is among the deepest and most poignant of the world, and that in the slums which make out most of the Brazilian cities hardly anyone has work, everyone is dirt poor and only the gangs have authority - gangs which make for equally near-unparallelled rates of violent death.

The little that I did read about Brazil suggested that Cardoso was, for a while at least, very succesful in reinstoring macro-economic stability, but that the above-mentioned chasm only increased in the process, with those impoverished masses feeling no difference whatsoever in their standard of living and resenting unchecked corruption. Is that more or less correct? Did Cardoso do all he could, in that respect, about what an outsider would think wouold be the major problem of the country?

What about Lula? He's been in politics for some fifteen to twenty years now, right? Wasn't he a dissident activist before that, when Brazil was still a dictatorship? So you mean "no experience" in governing, I presume? Did he never govern any kind of city either? Do you think he really only curbed his rhetorics, to get more votes probably, without really having changed his convictions, or might he sincerely have moderated some of his opinions?

We'll soon get to know, I guess ... What's happened since he got in? Has he implemented any of his past 'insane rhetorics'? One more thing I don't know: I know he's been the leader of the Workers Party for a decade or so ... how radical did it use to be? Was it ever communist, or merely socialist? How much has the party changed with Lula - did only he curb his rhetorics or has his party social-democratised (whether in appearance or reality) as well?

This is interesting ... I mean, how first Walesa and then Lula was mentioned. One could actually make a case for comparing the two, in a way, I guess ... Both were trade union leaders (right?) - both were used to be known as effective rabble-rousers, highly succesful in mobilising industrial workers in protest ... against dictatorships of opposing orientations, it's true, but I wouldnt be surprised if some of their programme in the 80s was quite comparable - Solidarnosc may have opposed the communist state at the time, but it was a trade unionist movement back then, and would have been very left-wing to Western standards ... both Walesa and Lulu were looked down upon - most sharply so - by the middle classes, the intellectuals, and will have been attacked on mostly the same grounds: for being stupid, uneducated and coarse, and for being dangerous populists ... both are workers by background, self-educated (or self-made, in any case) men ... the supporters of both (I think, but I dont really know about Lula) would probably claim that the fierce criticism their leaders got was inspired by prejudice and elitism ... both (again, about Walesa I know, about Lula I am perhaps speculating) think very, perhaps all too highly of themselves ...

If there is a parallel there, let's hope for the Brazilians that it doesnt hold for their time of government too. I do think Walesa was more fiercely attacked by the 'intellectual' politicians (Mazowiecki, Michnik, Geremek c.s.) than was really justified - the antisemitism scare was definitely overplayed - and in some ways he might still be slightly rehabilitated by history - but still, his was a grand failure, one of so much popular support, squandered in such senseless, squabbling, megalomanial ways ...

Thx for providing "fodder" for my wonderings, sorry if I have seemed to use it a bit too much as "fodder"!

Let's see if others will still juxtapose more of the current political names - whether of the Lulu or the Cardoso kind - to the more iconic, historical ones (Mandela, Walesa) - this is also an interesting poll of how much people know about other countries' politicians, in a way, really ...
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 03:53 pm
I'm in Canada and am very happy with the one we have.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 03:57 pm
nimh--
Point well taken.
I was and am at a loss. I don't know enough about other country's politicians to make an informed choice.

I followed Walesa in the 80's, and always loved a people's candidate, who risked life and limb for principle. This is basically all I knew of him.

I respect Tony Blair, but he may err too much on the side of diplomacy to caretake the US. (We could use improvement in diplomacy, but not the rolling over type...)

Why do you think most Americans aren't following most other leaders, while other country's citizens do? I hope you don't say lack of intelligence in the US... I think it is more lack of interest. But, why are we so disinterested?
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jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 04:08 pm
Craven
Re Lula you say:

'No experience'. . .'Insane rhetoric' . . . 'stupid' . . . 'impractical' . . . (his) 'policies against Brazilian law and constitution . . .' etc.

How about some specifics?
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jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 04:11 pm
Re: If you'd have to choose any politician outside your coun
nimh wrote:
... who would you want to be your president?



There was a time when I would have said Blair.

No more, not since he became Dubya's poodle.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 05:23 pm
Sofia wrote:
I respect Tony Blair, but he may err too much on the side of diplomacy to caretake the US. (We could use improvement in diplomacy, but not the rolling over type...)


He might make a very good vice-president, though Very Happy

Sofia wrote:
Why do you think most Americans aren't following most other leaders, while other country's citizens do? I hope you don't say lack of intelligence in the US... I think it is more lack of interest. But, why are we so disinterested?


Ooh, I dont know whether I wanna be getting into that particular can of worms ... <grins>

OK, let me make a random attempt. I should.

First of all, you are (or were) in the relatively comfortable position of not necessarily needing to know much about other countries' politics. Sure, national interests may have been at stake here or there all the time, but since the Soviet Union collapsed there hadnt been any direct threat to the US itself - there was never much the need to fret about the immediate safety of your village, your state. Even the Soviet threat was more of the abstract, global kind. When's the last time there was war on mainland American territory? When your parents and/or grandparents experienced war around their own home, you tend to become a bit more aware of whats going on in the countries around you.

Of course, 9/11 should have changed all that. And one of the things that touched me, back then, reading Abuzz for example, was that even in the immediate aftermath of such a horrible attack, people were sincerely asking themselves - why do they hate us so much? The fact that they needed to ask - that they were so bafflingly unaware of the extents and causes of hate and resentment of the US in the world (leaving aside for a moment whether or not those were indeed the background of Al-Qaeda's agression; I don't think so) may have been exasperating - but the fact that they asked, at a time when instinct would have you just grabbing for the nearest missile, struck me deeply. Perhaps 9/11 did kindle more of an interest in foreign politics.

What else? Perhaps there is ... <trying to be very cautious> ... a sincere belief that Americans do know best ... they're the richest, after all, the most powerful, their culture the most pervasive - so that must mean they are right; a sincere belief, thus, that there isn't actually anything to be learned in modesty from other countries - not when it comes to politics, in any case. Which kind of attitude is usually perceived as crude arrogance elsewhere in the world of course, not to mention the extent to which it baffles Europeans - used to proportional representation and multi-party systems - when they look at that supposedly superior American democracy ... :wink:

Anyway, I'm glad you came up with Walesa. In line with the above, many Americans (at least here on A2K and on Abuzz) also seem to think Regan liberated countries like Poland. Without wanting to deny the role of international politics, I think such posters should be reminded of people like Walesa as often as possible.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 05:43 pm
I think there is a certain chicken-and-eggness going on, too, nimh -- mainstream Amercian news sources don't report international news nearly on par with how much international news sources report American news. However, they (the news sources) would say it is because Americans are not as interested in the international stuff. But how are they (Americans) to know if they are interested or not if they don't see it (international news) on a regular basis? And round and round.
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realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 06:06 pm
I can't think of anyone. The only good thing I can say is that I admire the British system where the Prime Minister has to respond to questions/criticisms from Parliament members on a regular basis. I wish we had that here.
Not only would the leader have to be smart, without being given scirpted answers, but we would also see get some insight into the intelligence level of our Congress members.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 06:33 pm
here on the planet Tralfamadore we rotate presidents daily, its a lottery system. to be eligble you have to be under 18 or over 85. you get a lunch with cake of your choice and milk with oreos after a nap. the office closes promptly at 5. nobody seems to mind and its lots of fun. some presidents pass around helium filled ballons and everyone talks funny for awhile. we have noticed on your planet everone talks funny all the time but we find that boring after awhile and nothing would ever get done.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 07:04 pm
Incredibly satisfactory agreement with nimh and sozobe.

I don't think arrogance or delusions of superiority are reasons the American public is disinterested in other national politics. I think our geography is a big reason. If we were smacked up against more countries, especially with different ideological bents, I bet we'd know what they had for breakfast. (Of course, I may foil this with ignorance of Canada... Last time I followed them with interest was largely due to Margaret Trudeau's jet setting reputation...)

But, rushing to my defense, I am currently reading up on Brit politics. I want to thank nimh. I plan to add this subject to my reading. Will begin by reading up on Walesa, post-80.

I am interested. But, as sozobe says, our press doesn't write much on the subject--or didn't pre-911.

Nice thread, nimh.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 08:08 pm
Sofia wrote:
I plan to add this subject to my reading. Will begin by reading up on Walesa, post-80.


Timothy Garton Ash wrote many good analyses of post-89 Poland. His books should be easy to find in a bookstore.

I remember also a specific article in the journal "Soviet Studies", called "The Rise and Fall of Polish Rule by the Best and Brightest", which critically reviewed the first few years after the 1989 revolution.

At the time - after the dramatic split up of the Solidarnosc movement before the 1991 presidential elections - most political analyses simply squarely took the side of the liberal intellegentsia (Michnik, Kuron, Mazowiecki), against what had suddenly come to be seen as the catholic-populist danger of Walesa. This article took a much more critical angle, analysing the liberals' idealist project of having the great minds reinvent the country as the classically elitist endeavour it also was. I probably remember the article in particular because I, too, would by instinct only have seen the obvious interpretation otherwise ;-).

Found the citation: Zubek, Voytek. "The Rise and Fall of Rule by Poland's Best and Brightest," Soviet Studies, 44, No. 4, 1992.

Found it in a bibliography that looks pretty overwhelmingly complete itself, at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/poland/pl_bibl.html.

It also mentions this book, I dont know it: Laba, Roman. "The Roots of Solidarity: A Political Sociology of Poland's Working-Class Democratization".

Fellow-A2K member dagmaranka probably would know more/other reads about Walesa & post-89 Poland ...
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2003 10:59 pm
jjorge*197982* wrote:
Craven
Re Lula you say:

'No experience'. . .'Insane rhetoric' . . . 'stupid' . . . 'impractical' . . . (his) 'policies against Brazilian law and constitution . . .' etc.

How about some specifics?


Appropriating businesses for the state, defaulting on debt, reneging on treaties (economic bloc).

Most of all expressing the desire to take a privatly owned business (Globo) and make it state run.

This is illegal and scares off investors (who wants to invest in a country where the president talks of talking away a business because of it's success?).
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